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miniARCHER processor and sensor plateminiARCHER is the miniaturized and ruggedized version of the world’s first production turnkey airborne hyperspectral imaging (HSI) system with real-time processing. Seventeen ARCHER systems have been flying with the Civil Air Patrol since December 2004 and have executed hundreds of successful search and rescue and homeland defense missions.    

ARCHER automatically finds targets of interest, such as a life raft in high seas, airplane wreckage on the ground, or an oil slick on a river. These targets are detected in the HSI imagery using advanced real-time spectral exploitation algorithms and presented to the operator in the high resolution panchromatic data stream with accurate time and position information.

The heart of the miniARCHER system is NOVASOL’S patented solid block microHSI™ Visible Near Infra-Red (VNIR) imaging spectrograph. The microHSI™ is less than one quarter the physical size of the sensor used in the original ARCHER system, but provides superior performance. The microHSI™ is mated with a co-boresighted high resolution panchromatic camera to produce simultaneous high quality HSI and Pan image data. The inclusion of an inertial navigation system enables precise geo-registering for location and data exploitation. The multi-sensor data from the microHSI™ and panchromatic cameras reveals more information than either imager alone, through cross cueing and fusion. NOVASOL’S miniaturization of sensors and processors is revolutionizing the practicality and affordability of HSI for defense and environmental applications. Traditional imaging spectrometers are cumbersome to deploy and operate. NOVASOL’S miniature sensors provide exemplary performance, but are sized for use on UAVs or other small platforms. The new miniARCHER system is an order of magnitude smaller than its predecessor.

NOVASOL has also re-engineered the ARCHER real-time processor to operate in the harsh UAV environment and minimized the size, weight, and power in the process. The processor includes: a rugged Intel based single board computer; an FPGA based frame grabber; and state of the art semiconductor data storage. The storage drives are removable for quick transfer to a ground station and are capable of accommodating approximately 6 hours of geo-referenced HSI and Panchromatic sensor data.  

              miniARCHER Performance Specifications

Swath Width at 4500 ft. AGL 718 m (30 deg FOV)
Frame Rate 60 Hz
Spectral Range 400–1000 nm
Spectral Resolution 10 nm
Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) >100:1
Calibration Pre-flight, In-flight
Pan Spatial Resolution at 4500 ft. AGL 9 cm GSD
GPS/IMU-IMU Accuracy-GPS Accuracy ≤1 mrad ≤3 m
Continuous Record Time > 7 hours
Sensor Plate Dimensions 9.5 x 10.5 x 9.0 inches
Sensor Plate Weight 13 lbs
Processor Dimensions 7.9 x 4.5 x 11.6 inches
Processor Weight 13 lbs 
Power ~75 W    

microHSI as seen in Laser Focus Magazine.


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